Whether it is fighting fraud or representing Arkansas in a court of law, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel is committed to protecting and defending the interests of all Arkansans. The Attorney General is Arkansas’s chief law enforcement officer and chief consumer advocate.
The Attorney General’s Civil Department is as similar to a typical law firm as any department within the office. Civil Department staff work as counsel representing the State in civil courts and administrative proceedings. The Department has two divisions: The Civil Litigation Division represents state agencies, officials, boards, and commissions when any are named as defendants in civil lawsuits. The State Agencies Division acts as “in-house” counsel for more than 200 agencies, boards, commission, colleges and other state entities.
The Criminal Department works to keep criminal off the streets by fighting, in both state and federal court, to uphold valid convictions imposed by Arkansas judges and juries.
Public Protection Department
The Public Protection Department is perhaps the most visible of all the departments of the Attorney General’s Office, as its attorneys and staff directly assist Arkansans in a variety of matters. The Department houses the Consumer Protection Division, which fights deceptive trade practices in court and helps to mediate disputes between consumers and businesses. The Tobacco Division oversees the State’s compliance with the 1998 Master Settlement Agreement with major tobacco companies, and the Consumer Utilities Rate Advocacy Division is the voice of consumers as it relates to public utilities. In addition, the Public Protection Division houses an Environmental Division, an Antitrust Bureau, Charities Registration and a Health Care Bureau.
Medicaid Fraud Control Unit
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes violations of state and federal law involving Medicaid providers and the abuse or neglect of nursing home residents.
The Opinions Department prepares drafts of formal, written opinions for the Attorney General's review and approval. Under state law, the Attorney General is required to respond to questions of law posed by certain state officials and county election commissioners. The Opinions Department also reviews popular names and ballot titles of certain ballot measures and drafts opinions on whether certain employee-related public records are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.
Community Relations Department
The Community Relations Department engages in outreach to communities, schools and citizens with a variety of education programs tailored to specific topics or specific age groups. The AG’s outreach staff provided 1,015 presentations to school children, senior citizens, civic organizations and other groups in 2012 and visited all 75 Arkansas counties. The Department also administers the Arkansas Crime Victims Reparations Program.
Special Investigations Division
The Special Investigations Division is comprised of certified law enforcement officers focused on protecting Arkansas’s children by investigating and arresting individuals who engage in the distribution or possession of Internet child pornography. The Cyber Crimes Unit within the division was created in June 2011.
The Division also assists the Criminal Department by investigating matters ahead of an appeal proceeding. It serves documents for the office, and provides security for employees of the Attorney General’s Office.